Pakistani Taliban asks MPs not to restore NATO supplies
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, March 27, IRNA -- Pakistani Taliban have warned members of parliament against restoration of supply line for NATO troops in Afghanistan and said they would target MPs and their leaders if they recommended restoration of supplies.
Pakistan suspended supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan in November after the US fighter jets and helicopters raided two Pakistani posts and killed 24 soldiers.
The parliament will begin on Monday a debate on the future relationship with the US and the country’s future terms of engagements with the NATO in Afghanistan.
The MPs will also make decision whether or not to recommend to the government restoration of the supplies.
“If the parliament opened land route for the NATO troops, we will target members of the parliament and their party leaders,” Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP said.
“We are aware that the pro-American parliamentarians have started efforts to legalize route to NATO forces,” the TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has recommended to the government conditional restoration of supply line for NATO troops with the imposition of tax on NATO supply trucks.
Officials say that nearly 70 per cent supplies are transported for some 150,000 US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan via Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Communication Minister Arbab Alamgir has said that NATO containers have badly affected the country’s road infrastructure in the northwest and southwest, which had main border points with Afghanistan. He also said he would recommend to the government to demand compensation for damages caused to the roads.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that the parliament will take a decision on NATO supply and he will not accept any pressure on the issue.
Islamic parties have also opposed restoration of NATO supply line and said they will protest in Islamabad against any possible decision on restoration of supplies.
A leader of Jamiat ulema-eislam party, Maulana Faza-ur-Rahman Sunday told a public meeting of thousands of his supporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar that the nation will stand against the NATO supplies.
The Taliban TTP spokesman said in a statement that the parliamentarians should know that they ‘would not be safe’ if they favour restoration supplies for NATO forces.
He also asked the drivers not to carry supplies for NATO troops.
Taliban militants had routinely been attacking and torching NATO trucks unless Pakistan cut off the line, the shortest and cheaper route to Afghanistan.
The US has already struck deal with Russia and several Central Asian states for alternate supply route in view of attacks on NATO trucks in Pakistan.
General Mathis of the US Central Command, CENTCOM, says that the US will also need Pakistan’s land route during withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. He said earlier this month that he will discuss the issue with Pakistan’s military during his coming visit.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80052514
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